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Hong Kong’s highest court rules for dancers at gay rally

Hong Kong’s highest court rules for dancers at gay rally

Hong Kong’s highest court yesterday dismissed a police appeal against a ruling in favor of LGBTI activists who danced at an anti-homophobia rally in 2011, putting an end to a three-year battle over the ‘right to dance’ at protests.

Three out of five judges ruled in favor of the activists, who staged a dance performance at an International Day Against Homophobia rally in May 2011. 

Police dispersed them after five minutes, saying they required a license under the Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance. They said dancing in the street was a form of public entertainment and not included in the license to protest, which organizers Amnesty International and Pink Alliance had.

One of the dancers, a man only identified as T, challenged the police decision at the Court of First Instance in 2012 and lost, but won an appeal in July last year.

The police took the case to the Court of Final Appeal last month.

T’s solicitor, Michael Vidler, welcomed the judgment.

He told GSN, ‘This decision comes at an important time in Hong Kong – not only for Hong Kong citizens seeking to exercise their right to demonstrate, but also for LGBT members of the community wishing to express their views free from police harassment.

‘Our highest court has now sent the police a clear message that they can no longer use this piece of public entertainment legislation to restrict the rights of those seeking to exercise their constitutional right of assembly and protest.’